I was on the platform of a train station, trying to figure out, along with two other strangers next to me, how the ticketing system works. The tickets sale office at the facility was closed and only the automated ticket machines were available at that time.
We had spent a few minutes, each trying to figure out how to purchase the right return ticket, when a middle-aged man who was walking on the platform, came to us with a smile. Very politely and with patience, he explained to us in details how to use the automated ticket machines and helped each one of us purchase his own return ticket. He then gave us directions about the area, the neighbouring rail stations, their timetables, destinations and other information we may need throughout our different journeys.
I was amazed by his kindness and the patience he displayed. I asked him whether he worked here, and he said no. He knew a lot about that rail station and its connections, although he does not usually travel by train.
He spent about twenty minutes with us, until our train came. He explained that he did not live in the area, but it is on his path, as he walks every day from his home, around sunset. He had lost his wife last year and ever since, he takes a daily walk for a couple of hours. When he reaches the ground rail station, he often sees that people need help or information. He stops and genuinely offers his support.
We shook hands and parted ways. I felt that everyone was happy about this memorable encounter. The two strangers and myself were amazed by this man who sincerely reached out to help us and share information.
As I sat on the train, one of the two persons took the seat opposite me. She was an incredibly knowledgeable young lady.
For a little bit more than an hour until she reached her destination, I listened to her compelling story. She had a brilliant career and a leadership position. One day, she became very sick and had to fight for her life. When she was cured, years later, she was determined to dive into research and dedicate her life to prevent this disease from spreading.
She quit her promising career, moved to another city, and is currently working in research. She changed her lavish lifestyle for a modest one and feels incredibly happy and fulfilled.
I was deeply moved by her story. She said she had never thought this would happen to her. During her illness, she kept thinking of her terrible experience. While she was slowly healing, she spent time planning what she wanted to do, once she would feel better. And there she was, dedicated to her objective of saving lives.
She paused and said to me that her experience with sickness and pain changed her perception about life and joy. She is devoted and committed to her objective and wakes up every day determined to save someone’s life through her work. She found meaning in what she does right now. It makes her happy, as happy as she has ever been.
This story of an unexpected encounter on a rail station, is a lesson on happiness. The two persons I saw that day deeply moved me with their determination to help others and the fact it brought them satisfaction.
Meeting them was indeed not planned; they were two random strangers at a rail station. Taking time to talk to them and to attentively listen to their stories, gave me an incredible feeling.
There are many people who dedicate their life to helping others, sometimes genuinely, because it makes them feel good and gives them meaning.
Happiness is achieved when we change our attitude, when we redirect our energy from the daily frustrations towards endless possibilities.
The biggest task goes on in our mind, how we perceive happiness.
We spend time stressing about what we can’t have, what we can’t achieve, instead of thinking about so many other avenues in which we can succeed and be happy.
“Happiness is found in the simplest of things. Happiness is found in gratitude, in a kept promise, in a good conversation, in love, in friendship, in an achieved goal, in a fond memory; in all the simple magnificence of life.” - Steve Maraboli.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends so they can benefit from it as well and visit my Blog for more free resources!
Muriel Matta (BSc, MSc, MPhil, Cert CTT Practitioner) is the Founder of Maravilhosa.
She is a multilingual Human Resources Management expert, with extensive cross-cultural experience, spanning 26 years in MENA, Europe and CIS.
Through her work with Organizations and Individuals, she helps solve the toughest HR challenges by customizing unique training and coaching solutions to inspire change, positive thinking and transformation.
Muriel can be contacted via email: Muriel@maravilhosa.net